We must have missed the memo, because apparently the last week of August is official Roast An Entire Pig And Then Eat It Week here in Chicago, since we’ve got not one but three going down. The appeal of the whole-roasted pig is obvious: it’s visually dramatic, you get to eat way more parts of the pig than are on offer in your standard pork entree (particularly useful if you’re interested in offal), and there is the decided probability of delicious, delicious crispy skin. If you’re looking to indulge in porcine entirety, these three events offer up something at every price point — you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Goose Island Clybourn Weekly Pig Roast
August 27, and every Thursday thereafter. Goose Island Clybourn. $17 all-you-can-eat.
Who’s cooking: Goose Island chef John Manion
What’s on the menu: A locally-raised pig slow-roasted the night before, accompanied by barbecue-friendly sides like red-skin potato salad, pub chips and roasted beets with feta. Drinks are extra.
Why you should go: Dollar for dollar, one of the best whole-pig-roast deals around. Show up early for the best selection — they’ll serve until the pig runs out.
Nichols Farm Pig Roast
August 30, Nichols Farm and Orchard, Marengo, IL. $100 including food, wine, and transporation. 312 280 2750 for reservations.
Who’s cooking: Spiaggia chef di cocina Sarah Grueneberg
What’s on the menu: A cornucopia of Nichols Farm produce (corn, pears, tomatoes, tropea onions, fingerling potatoes) and a pig from Becker Lane, carved up to create dishes like a “PLT” (Pancetta, lettuce, tomato) and slow-roasted pork stuffed with shallots, wild fennel fronds, and bread crumbs.
Why you should go: Spend a full day playing on beautiful Nichols Farm, with tractor rides, apple picking, lawn games, and good company.
Goose Island and Slow Food Chicago Pig Roast 2009
August 30, Goose Island Brewery, $55 including food and beer. Click here for reservations.
Who’s cooking: Blackbird’s Mike Sheerin; The Signature Room’s Pat Sheerin; Goose Island Clybourn’s John Manion; The Bristol’s Chris Pandel; Red Light’s Jackie Shen
What’s on the menu: Lots of pork, prepared lots of ways. Plus a vegetarian option prepared by Uncommon Ground Devon’s Brian Millman
Why you should go: An all-star lineup of pork-friendly chefs, plus tours of the Goose Island brewery — all to support the Slow Food movement.